Now, I'm not the type of person to brag, but admittedly...I'm smart. I know that I'm smart. So when I first started reading the Harry Potter series, all I could think was, "I'm a Ravenclaw". Mainly because I knew that I wasn't a Gryffindor - I may be brave and reckless in my own ways, but not in the ways that are associated with that Hogwarts House.
And when we first learn about the Hogwarts houses, it's hard for *most* people to think "I want to be a Hufflepuff" or "I want to be a Slytherin". That isn't because there's anything wrong with most people - it's simply (and probably sadly) because of the way J.K. Rowling portrayed those two houses.
When I was younger I took all sorts of sorting quizzes, and most of them placed me in either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. I was - to be completely honest - happy with both of those results.
But that doesn't mean that they were correct. At least not in regards to how they pertained to me as a person.
Many years later, I was sorted into Hufflepuff via Hogwarts is Home on LiveJournal. And to be completely honest, I wasn't too psyched about this decision. I received a lot of Gryffindor/"Gryffinpuff" votes - yet in the end, I was overwhelmingly voted into Hufflepuff.
With not a single Ravenclaw vote, mind you.
Later, I *was* sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore, but to be honest...I've never felt like a Gryffindor? (Question mark on purpose.)
All that said, once I was "sorted" into Hufflepuff, I did a lot of research on that house.
And the more I read, the more I became proud of - and, to an extent, almost obsessed with - the fact that I am a Hufflepuff through and through.
Let's not lie - Hufflepuff gets the short end of the stick in the Harry Potter series, and that's just a bit depressing. Because many of the best people I know are Hufflepuffs through and through.
The thing is, to be loyal the way that Hufflepuffs are loyal, you often have to exhibit that courageous Gryffindor trait. You also have to be hard-working to be a Hufflepuff, which also proves that in their own ways they are intelligent - just not necessarily in the Ravenclaw ways of focusing on education and loving riddles and puzzles. I've had my courageous moments, sure, and I certainly value education, but I've never defined myself as brave or witty. As for Slytherin - well, no matter what people say, they do value loyalty, and they do foster close friendships - the difference possibly being that Slytherins will stick with their friends no matter what, while clearly - based on what happens in the series - the Hufflepuffs have such a clear definition of right and wrong that they aren't loyal in that somewhat biased (for lack of a better word) way that Slytherins are. When Hufflepuffs know that something is wrong, they side with the "right" side.
If you had asked me two or more years ago, I would have said I was a Ravenclaw...maybe a Gryffindor. I am [sadly?] lacking in the "ambition and thirst to prove myself" that Slytherins require. And I suppose that, with the Sorting Hat taking my own choice into consideration, I would have - at 11 years old - been sorted into Ravenclaw or Gryffindor (most likely the former).
But clearly that would have been based on mere prejudice.
So why am I a Hufflepuff - through and through and through?
I'm loyal, though to be truthful my loyalty has bounds. I'm honest (though maybe not always in the "kind" way that Hufflepuffs seem to be honest). I'm hard working, in that even when I don't care for a task (or, in school, a subject), I will do my best to excel at it. I may be reckless, but I have to admit that most of my reckless decisions aren't necessarily brave...and therefore I don't think that I would fit in Gryffindor.
I'm essentially Neville Longbottom without his bravery. I'm the person that would have said "put me in Ravenclaw" - but the Sorting Hat would have known that was wrong. And obviously a person's choice - especially at such a young age - was sometimes overruled...in the right case(s).
And as for all of that House Cup nonsense...